Music News

The Gaslight Anthem

Bruce Springsteen has influenced many artists over the years, and not always in a positive way: We have him to blame for the all-too-often egregious genre known as "heartland rock," for instance. Strangely, though, only a relative handful of punks have bowed to Bruce — a rule to which the Gaslight Anthem stands as an exception, albeit an understandable one. The group, which is slated to play alongside the Heartless Bastards and A Death in the Family, hails from New Brunswick, New Jersey, where every resident probably hears "Born to Run" on a daily basis — and on The '59 Sound, the Anthem's latest, singer/guitarist Brian Fallon proves he was listening. But while tracks such as "Old White Lincoln" and "The Patient Ferris Wheel" draw liberally from Springsteen's thematic well, they contain enough punky energy to lift the best of them beyond mere imitation. In other words, this isn't John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band. Thank goodness.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts